An installation vessel due to work on some of the world’s biggest offshore wind farm projects suffered serious damage when a crane collapsed during load testing, injuring several workers.

Orion 1 was undergoing tests in Rostock, Germany, when the “serious accident” occurred on 2 May, said offshore contractor DEME, which is due to take delivery of the vessel later this month. The collapse was filmed and published on YouTube.

DEME said the crane incurred “significant damage” after the collapse, with several people suffering minor injuries in the incident at the Liebherr construction yard. “Damage to the crane and the vessel will be investigated in the upcoming days and weeks.”

Orion 1 arrived there in November following its construction in China as one of the world's largest offshore installation vessels. Its 5,000-tonne crane is designed to handle the largest offshore turbines entering service around the world, as well as foundations and other heavy offshore components.

Orion 1 is slated to work on several major upcoming offshore wind projects in European waters.

Its first booked assignment is installation later this year of 103 jacket foundations at the 950MW EDP-led Moray East off Scotland, with Orion due to join the project in June.

Orion 1 is then due to join the fleet installing turbines at the 1.4GW Hornsea 2 project for Orsted, which is on course to become the world’s largest operating offshore wind farm when it enters service in 2022.

A spokeswoman for DEME told Recharge the company is working on a replacement vessel for Moray East as a first priority, and is also in contact with the Hornsea 2 project team over options there.

“We are working with our customers to minimise disruption,” said the spokeswoman, adding that more would be disclosed to the market once a solution is found.

The Moray East project company said: “Moray East has been made aware by DEME of an incident during crane testing in Germany concerning a vessel which was intended for use on the Moray East site later in the year. The investigations are ongoing and Moray East is looking into the potential impact (if any) this may have on project delivery.

“The two vessels currently working in the Moray Firth are unaffected.”